View Full Version : HELP!! Best camera for horse photography?

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:01 AM
Shopping for a new digital camera and am wondering if I should go dslr or just high end digital. I want to be able to take good action shots of my horses for sale, especially trotting or over fences where you don't want the lag time or basic digitals and always get the stinky shot like missing the nice extension moment of a big trot or getting the horse always just taking off or just landing over the jump! SO frustrating! Also want to be able to get good shots of my daughter at shows, almost every jump shot this year was the wrong timing.

So I found this camera: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08091601casio_fh20.asp
that is not an slr but takes up to 40 frames per second in a burst, which I gather is way more than any slr either. Also takes slow motion HD movies though I don't think I would use that much. But it's a Casio which to me is a crappy brand and in reviews people rave over the neat features like those mega frames per second and how you will never miss an action shot but also complain about the quality of the images as not being that great. It's 9.1 mp, the fast burst shots are 7 mp which seems good to me but at $329 for a non slr I'm wondering if I'll be sorry buying it.

So for you photography buffs - is an slr really necessary and what are the benefits? Other than great horse shots I just want nice pics of the kids etc, I'm not into tons of big lenses and getting really into fancy photography. Can anyone explain slr cameras better and also maybe give an opinion on the above camera? I don't want to spend more than around $500 if I don't have to but am open to other camera suggestions.

Help please! My other digital bit the dust and I urgently need to buy something as I have customers waiting for horse pics and I'm having to take stills off my video camera which really stink!!

Thanks :D

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:19 AM
I am a beginner photographer so I needed something to shoot fast shots with that was fairly stable and really easy so I picked up this camera -

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/ProductDetail.page?pid=25438 I got one big lense and a fast memory card. I can take pics that look pretty awesome even though I barely know what I am doing!

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:28 AM
here is one of the first pics I took with my set up... (hopefully this works)


Dec. 9, 2009, 10:29 AM
If you can't afford the good lenses, which often cost more than the camera, a DSLR isn't really an option for you. The most advanced point and shoot cameras are starting to jump up in capabilities and some are even using the sensor technology that was only available in DSLRs. So I would recommend looking at a camera like the Canon SX1 which offers a good zoom and acceptable picture quality with the basic performance and price of an entry-level DSLR.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:30 AM
I can't really recommend anything, but there are work arounds with most digital cameras for that lag time problem. Many types that I've used allow you to hold the button about halfway down. That keeps the camera focusing and adjusting, so that it is already focused and "set" and when you push the button the rest of the way down, the photo is taken right away.

Not every model does that but a lot of them do.


Dec. 9, 2009, 10:32 AM
Oh.. and I got the entire set up - the camera and memory card from Best Buy and the lense from Amazon for about $650.00 total. I waited until there was a sale at Best Buy and used a coupon for the camera and the lense was on special from Amazon with free shipping. So I got both the big lense and a smaller lense for that price.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:38 AM
I've been out of camera sales and trade shows for a while now, but Casio is actually a very good brand. Excellent workmanship, one of the best sensors in point-and-shoot, least lag time, and typically on the leading edge of small camera technology. As LexInVA mentioned, if you cannot afford good lenses (several hundred dollars on the low end) then you're best to stay away from DSLRs. If you do want to go with the DSLR, Nikon tends to have the better amateur-friendly machines and lenses, budget wise. Canon definitely has the better machine and lens quality once you get into the (tens of) thousands of dollars at the pro level. If you'd like a really nice "cross-over" camera I suggest the Panasonic Lumix G1; 12.1MP, 14-45mm lens, anti-shake. With that much mega-pixel involved you can do some good cropping after the fact. When camera shopping always keep in mind that optical zoom is the important part; digital zoom is basically just cropping the photo before capturing the image, it degrades resolution.

Good luck to you and have fun with your new toy.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:42 AM
I SWEAR by my Nikon's!!! I have both the older D70 and D200 and they have taken some of the best photos that I have taken ever....

Here are a few of my best shots :)
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aTN5ixtMBm4/SIlPya3HcpI/AAAAAAAAAps/fdZDzUAzp6g/s720/delete%20081.JPG(I love this one because of the dragonfly in front of the horse...)



If your serious about getting into equine photography, you are going to need to invest in a top of the line lens... I personally prefer my Nikor 18-200m with an fstop of at most 3.

I work down in Wellington, FL so this lens comes in handy especially during the grand prixs. :)

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:48 AM
Thanks guys! So is the main benefit of a dslr that you can change lenses and get into really professional type photography, not necessarily that they are faster in terms of getting good action shots? If so, then please point me to the best regular digital that would do the job for my horsey stuff :)

I looked at that Canon SX1, looks nice and has good reviews but is it worth the extra money over the Casio. For instance the Canon does 3 fps, the Casio can do 40 fps. Both are these new super zooms I believe.

Anyone got feedback as to how many frames per second are really needed to be able to hold down the shutter as a horse approaches a jump and get all phases of the jump (or a trot stride) so you can pick out the ideal shot at the apex of the jump or full extension of the trot? With my old digital (a 9 mp Canon) it was truly just keep taking pics as fast as possible, which was seconds really between each shot, then pray that I got something usable (and most of the time I didn't lol). So I want something this time with that burst feature but also decent images.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:49 AM
I have the Nikor 18-200m.... love that lense! It wasn't that expensive as I got it off Amazon from some camera shop that was blowing them out with free shipping as well. There are deals out there to be found you just need to decide what you want first and then start looking for the deals.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:50 AM
I have an EX-FH20 by Casio...PM me if you have any specific questions, or what to see pictures / videos.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:51 AM
Thanks guys! So is the main benefit of a dslr that you can change lenses and get into really professional type photography, not necessarily that they are faster in terms of getting good action shots?

I know with the Nikon that I have it has a sport mode and there is no lag time when taking a picture which helps tremendously. Also because I have stabalization it is easier to take action shots without having blurring occur.

Dec. 9, 2009, 10:55 AM
Sorry should clarify - I'm not looking to get into horse photography or anything even semi-professional ;) I'm having a big farm dispersal and need to get good shots of various sale horses on the flat and over fences or free jumping, for my website. Once they're all sold that's the end of my equine photography days LOL other than the occasional sales horse that might come my way and most importantly lots of shots of my daughter showing her pony hunters. Other than my daughter's shows I just want a nice family camera :D I don't object to spending money for a decent camera but know that I will never want to tote around all kinds of different lenses on vacations etc, I want something more compact than that. I used to have a Nikon 35mm with tons of huge lenses that took great pics but I'm not into dragging the big camera bag around anymore.

Dec. 9, 2009, 11:27 AM
Depnding on how old your lenses are, you should be able to get a used DSLR body and reuse your lenses. A D80 in good shape should run around $250. When I finally decide to give up my beloved Nikon D4, I'll go for a D200, but that's still close to $1000 used. If you want an excellent all-around camera take a look at the cross-overs, but keep in mind that they will be bulky, not necessarily the easiest for family vacations. Otherwise I would stick with a traditional point-and-shoot (no snorkel lenses), and personally I'm a Casio person... that's my Christmas present this year ;-) I'd still be hesitant that it actually take 40 fps, but if you get 7-10 then you're golden. And even if you need to drop down to 7mp, you'll still have great resolution to do some cropping. I have a gorgeous B&W of the Reflecting Pool in DC that I framed and matted as an 11x17, and it came out of a 5mp Casio. If you can find a Ritz Camera type store, or any store that specializes in cameras go in and play with the different options to see what you like holding and shooting. You will also be able to stick a memory card and battery in to use it vs. holding it (connected with a cable) only at Best Buy/Walmart type places.

Dec. 9, 2009, 11:43 AM
I second Nikon. I have a D80 and I love it. The top pros who use Nikon use the D3, D300 or D3X for the body. The D300's and up have a voice recording button which makes it easy to make a voice note. (this is used for horse shows getting the rider's number and class).

Then you have lenses! These are very important and expensive. A telephoto lens are what we use for the horse shows. The one I want is about 2K.

Now, my D-80 comes with a lens that works just as well but if I am working a horse show (with Flashpoint) I use their D300x and a telephoto lens. I got lucky and got to use Greg's camera for the Gulf Port Hunter Derby and my pictures made it in COTH's March Issue!

There are many types of camera's such as Cannon, Sony, etc... but I love the Nikons the best.

Here's some of my work at a local show that I took for fun:

Aprio (taken with a Cannon) (http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t13/ntorchia/Apiro%20in%20Gulfport%202008/IMG_1425-1.jpg?t=1260372577)

These were taken by my Nikon D-80

Grey pony (http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t13/ntorchia/ECE%20Horse%20Show/greypony1.jpg?t=1260372704)

Christina and Callie (http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t13/ntorchia/ECE%20Horse%20Show/callie1.jpg?t=1260372711)

Dec. 9, 2009, 11:56 AM
I use the Casio and I'm really pleased, 40 shots to select from, is more than enough to select the right one from a horse jumping, trotting or cantering.
The quality of the photo is more than any amateur will need.

Dec. 9, 2009, 12:51 PM
I like my Nikon D40, but love my friends Nikon D90!

Mimi La Rue
Dec. 9, 2009, 01:55 PM
I just got a Nikon d5000 and have taken some great horse photos so far. They have a lot of preset modes so it's easy for someone just getting into it but you can also go manual too, which I am learning to do. I got it from Costco and it came with 2 lenses. I like that you can take video too!

Dec. 9, 2009, 02:58 PM
i swear by nikon's. canons are good too, but i don't like them quite as much.

good beginner cameras are Nikon d40's and d60's.

Dec. 9, 2009, 04:11 PM
I have a sony cybershot 10x zoom with a 10mp.

Dec. 9, 2009, 05:49 PM
I'd go with one of the high-end point and shoots that almost look like a DSLR but don't interchange the lenses. I just got a SSLR (Canon EOS Sx) and can't wait to get it to a show and try it out.

Before I got that one, I was shooting with a Canon Powershot S5 IS, which at the time I bought it (2 years ago on the dot) was about $400. It's awesome. Takes fast phoots, good photos, and great video. Only downfall with a non-SLR is that you won't get as close, as the digital zoom is basically useless - you want high optical zoom.

I'd look for something like the S5 IS - there are newer models out now. Canon and Nikon are the way to go - AVOID Kodak like the plague.